by Becky GINOS
BOUNTIFUL—Sandra Carmony doesn’t just do her job as principal at Washington Elementary, she goes out of her way to make sure every child’s needs are met. Because of her efforts, Carmony was honored recently by the Bountiful Soroptimists with their Ruby Award for her exceptional service to south Davis County.
“We have three Title One schools in the south end of the county and very few community resources to address the needs,” said Carmony. “There’s been an increase in children with adverse childhood experiences and it impacts their learning and ability to interact with peers and teachers.
Through Promise Bountiful Carmony said they’re finding resources in communities and bring those to families at her school and the other Title One elementaries. “We’re giving out Pantry Packs and Davis Behavioral Health sends out a therapist one day a week. So we’re developing those systems and identifying those students who need help. I’m fortunate to have come from Wasatch (Elementary) where we had those programs so I was able to bring them down here.”
Carmony said they look at the number of kids that come from single-parent families, those who need food assistance and students who could benefit from working with a therapist who have anxiety from their past.
“There’s more need than we have resources available,” she said. “As a school we’re fortunate to have an incredible faculty and staff. These are not jobs or careers – they’re callings. Our tutors, janitors and lunch staff as well put more time in. We feel we can make a difference and impact the lives of our students.”
Washington is part of the K – 12 initiative for coding as well. “We’re preparing students for a world that doesn’t even exist today,” said Carmony. “One tutor started a STEM and coding program that focuses on problem solving and critical thinking.”
Lots of things have been taken out of schools a little bit she said, like arts, drama and singing. “They’re really critical for childhood trauma. A volunteer held drama classes and developed a student written play. We have support from the PTA and parent volunteers.”
Carmony said teachers are going above and beyond and she tries not to stand in their way. “I try to encourage it,” she said. “I have a first grade teacher that’s been trying to provide a summer reading program. A fourth grade teacher uses educational Minecraft. I support great ideas.”
Her goal is to look at the school’s needs and resources and find solutions to meet those needs. “My strength is to find ways to help people grow,” said Carmony. “We’re bringing some of the same resources here even though we don’t have a (separate) facility but the idea is to do the same work. A family support specialist is in and out of here and all three Title One schools have those resources available to them.”
Washington has instituted a positive behavior system, she said. “Students are caught being good. We have the PAW’s Pack (Persistence, Attitude, Work = Success) monthly. Our Captain’s Crew are students who discuss leadership, set goals and put learning first. It’s about students taking accountability for themselves. It’s proactive not reactive thinking for a win-win.”
The school’s student body is about 50 percent minority with 20 to 30 percent where English is their second language. “We’ve really reached out to them to see how we can support them in school,” said Carmony. “We try to bring in resources to help them and then for the whole school.”
Overall, the kids at Washington are most delightful she said. “What I love about the diversity at this school is we often do well because of it. We had a battle of the books for fifth graders and out of five kids, four were minority with three ESL and one had an IEP. They did really well. It’s fun to see those cute kids of all different races do so well.”